The lodgepole pine tree, an evergreen indigenous to western North America, produces cones that contain the seeds of reproduction. The cones must be subjected to intensely high heat (such as those generated by forest fires) in order to open and release their seeds.

A piece of black coal, hidden deep within the darkness of the earth, must be exposed to extreme pressure in order to produce the most brilliant gemstone known to humans: the diamond. A mother endures excruciating pain while bringing new life into the world.

Nature instinctively understands that change is necessary for growth, and sometimes that process involves severe pressure or pain. But without growth, there is stagnation – which cannot support life. For many, change is frightening as they struggle with a fear of the unknown.

The wise understand that life is cyclical and nothing remains constant. Happiness wanes to sadness; peace is disrupted by dissention; success bows to failure; loss concedes to gain. If you look at history (even and especially your own), you notice that all things eventually return to their rightful place. Daylight turns to darkness and then, at precisely the right moment, light is restored.

Recently one of my clients endured the most terrifying period of his life. Losing his source of income, home, and family within a matter of months left him feeling weak and without hope. Yet the human spirit is relentless and would not permit him to surrender to defeat. He moved forward with a tenacious determination, and within less than a year had reconstructed his life into one far more compatible with his desires and beliefs. In retrospect, he recognized the necessity of his struggles and found a sense of appreciation for the opportunity he was given to overcome great adversity and discover a newfound joy for living.

During the fire that propagates the lodgepole pine, everything in the path of the blaze is destroyed. Yet it is only during this process of extreme loss that new life can emerge: loss to what is in order to receive a higher good.

During any time of personal fire, much will be lost. This may prove frightening and painful, but rest assured that it is not necessarily bad. Out of ashes comes new growth, and the advantage of being human is that you decide what your new growth will be. Perhaps you will experience a rebirth of priorities, appreciate anew what you have, or discover a new career path. You may uncover hidden strengths and talents lying dormant within or make new friendships. The gifts are infinite.

Panicking in a fire can cost your life. Have faith, trust that you can weather this challenge and emerge victorious like the lodgepole pine, and regrow your new and improved forest. Be at peace. All is exactly as it should be.

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